Work-in-Progress Girl


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Bee Blocks and a Hexie Quilt

It’s been a while since I did a Work-in-Progress Wednesday post, so I thought it was time I did it again. I’m so tired tonight, though, that I’m not sure I’ll stay awake long enough to get it written and posted! (Sometimes if I write when I’m particularly tired, I’ll start drifting off and find myself with two or three lines of …………………………….. or I’ll start typing the things I’m thinking about, rather than the things I’m trying to write about. (So, I don’t know. There’s a dvd case on the floor in my eye line for the tv show Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays and maybe instead of talking about Exactly What I Think About Hexagons, I’ll switch mid-sentence to something about how disconcerting it is that Carlos is actually Indian. Or whatever. Tired=babbling=random nonsense. Sorry.)

Anyway, first up, things I finished this weekend and haven’t mailed yet, but really should:

My last block for my Birthday Blocks group on Livejournal:

LJ Birthday blocks for Cat

It doesn’t look it, but this is a block for making a Pineapple-style quilt. It feels incomplete without the other three blocks to create the pattern! This was created for Cat, who requested this block with white on white and scrappy blues, greens, and browns. The pattern also lets you create a kind of bonus block, using the off-cut bits, so here is that second block:

LJ Birthday blocks for Cat

I don’t know if Cat actually wants this block, but she’s getting it anyway! If you want to make your own set of these two blocks, you can find the pattern here at Quiltville (and you can see how it looks when you multiply the block across a quilt).

And then my November block for the Simply Solids swap on Flickr:

Aeneous - November block

Man was this not a happy block to make. There are parts of this block I stitched and then picked out, twice, before it finally looked good. And it does look so lovely, but there are 4 layers of fabric in the centre (6 where the lip of the cathedral window is sewn over), so you can imagine just how thick that central patch is. (Especially when you start thinking about how many layers are contained in the seams in the centre!) I like how this looks, but can’t quite imagine it as a block in a quilt. Maybe the recipient will cut out all those extra layers from the background… I don’t know.

Anyway, we got our instructions for December early, so here is my December block as well:

Aeneous - December block

I just don’t know WTF I was thinking when I chose that fluorescent green OR that mint green. I rather think anything would have been a better option than those two colours. My only defence is that the lighting is very bad in my sewing room and if it’s dark outside, the overhead light makes it hard to see what’s what. Anyway, it’s going into a quilt with a mishmash of colours, so I’m hoping it’ll just sort of… blend.

In any case, those things are finished now, so the work-in-progress part of this post is the hexie quilt I’m working on.

Hexagon beginnings

I’m using two honeycomb packs of Bonnie & Camille’s Happy Go Lucky line, and I finally, finally sorted out the issue of how to deal with the hexies. I didn’t want to have to trace a bunch of hexagons onto the roll of freezer paper I’ve got, but when I tried buying papers from… that company that makes pretty much all the English Paper Piecing shapes you’ll stumble over on the Internet, the ones I was sure would fit were actually too small. So I bought some freezer paper sheets, ones that are cut to printer paper size, and then I worked out how to get two of the shapes to fit onto a single sheet of paper. And then I got to work centring and pressing on all those freezer paper hexagons. I think they’re just a hair too large (I should have trimmed off all the black outline of the shape, I think, rather than leaving it on), so before I reuse those papers, I’m going to trim off those little extra bits. There’s a little less than a quarter-inch of fabric in my seam allowances, and I’d hate for any of these to blow out when I wash the finished quilt.

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And here’s a shot part way through folding over and pressing down all the edges. Bit of a dull job that, but I did get finished five sets of three, which is exactly what I need for the first five blocks of V And Co’s Confetti quilt.

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Now that I’ve got 5 blocks worth of hexagons dealt with, the next bit will be cutting out the 24.5-inch square blocks that I’ll those hexagons will get stitched to. I haven’t used it before, but I’m planning to sew them down using water soluble thread so that I can quilt it down properly later on without having existing stitching interfering with anything.

Anyway, I was typing about home inspections a few moments ago (what? what?! what!?!), so I think that means I’m too tired to be lucid any longer tonight! Time for bed.

Linking up to The Needle and Thread Network and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced:
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

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Bits and Bobs

I had a to-do list this weekend that felt a mile long. It really wasn’t, but it just FELT like it and it’s all because I left all my sewing commitments for October until the Very Last Second, which made it feel like work instead of fun to finish them up. And they should have been fun! Some of what I was working on I won’t be showing for a few more days, but here are some of the blocks I finished up:

Tall Shoo-fly Blocks

I sewed up four Tall Shoo Fly blocks for my Livejournal Birthday Blocks group. These blocks are quite small (6.5 x 9.5″) so even though we didn’t have to make more than one I’d always planned on doing three or four. I found these hard to photograph, largely because the wall and the background fabric were pretty much the exact same colour. I kept thinking shadows would be a good thing for once since it would help distinguish the blocks a bit. It all looks a bit dingy and underlit, though, doesn’t it? Oh well, I think the blocks came out well, and that’s all I could ask for.

I’m still behind one block for the month for the LJ exchange, but I will get that one done in the next couple days, I hope. But also, I have a quilt I want to get quilted! I’m torn! (Commitments to other people really should come first, though, shouldn’t they?)

Anyway, I also did up my Simply Solids Bee block for October:

Road to Fortune

This is a paper-pieced Road to Fortune block, made for Shena of Apple Pie Patchwork. I don’t know why, but I kind of spaced out the making of this one, doing a unit two days ago and two units yesterday and finally finishing them all up tonight. Somehow I got all discombobulated about where my colours were going to go and it all came out a bit clumped up instead of nicely spread around. Oh well, I think it came out okay and it should blend in with the rest of the blocks by the time it’s all done anyway.

I also finished up my needlebook for the Sweet & Simple Scrappy Swap on Flickr. I’ve shown a lot of pictures of this already, but here are my finally finished shots. And if any of you can find my opps! error, the first one to get it right in the comments will get sent a Fat Quarter in the colour of your choosing. (Things which don’t count: the shoddy stitching on the snap, the not quite round felt, the not quite centred felt, the not quite straightly stitched felt.)

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I said before that this is a taco shaped needlebook, and here it is snapped shut and holding its taco shape all on its own. Yay! The pattern for the needlebook came from Suzuko Koseki’s Playful Patchwork book, but I wound up making it a bit larger than the pattern suggests. You’re supposed to shrink the daisy pattern down to 80%, but I wound up preferring it at full-size. It’s about 8-inches in diametre, I think, but the larger size made it easier to modify the interior a little bit.

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In any case, the exterior is kind of paean to Japanese design because not only is a pattern by a Japanese designer, but the green fabric is a Japanese print, from a Yuwa Kei line, which might or might not be called Newsprint and Roses. The stitching was done with Sashiko thread that I had in with my embroidery supplies. It’s nice and thick so it leaves a lovely line around the petals. Of which, the yellow fabric is a Lakehouse print, from the Annie’s Seed Catalog line and the off-white is actually a Moda Grunge fabric, though I forget the colour name of it. It’s a kind of off-white or winter white with very pale strokes of green and red brushed through in the grunge pattern.

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The interior has two leaves of wool for storing pins and needles. The green came from a local fabric shop, Traditional Pastimes, and the off-white wool was a gift to me from Jennifer Ofenstein, when she passed off a collection of mostly hand-dyed wool pieces.

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I modified the interior a little by adding this zipper pocket on one side (and if I’d had a second matching zipper, I’d have probably added a pocket on the other side as well). It wasn’t a complicated change, but I do think it made the needle-case a little more useful since otherwise scissors or a skein of thread would just slide out and possibly get lost.

So that’s my needlebook that I sent away for the swap. I was pretty happy in the end with how everything came together, and I really hope my swap partner will like it as lot as well.


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Sunday Stash

When I was thinking about writing today’s entry, I was just going to show you my newest influx of fabric…

Sunday Stash

I’m always buying something. No matter how often I say I’m going on a fabric fast or whatever, I always wind up stumbling over a 30% off sale or I just need a red stripe for a binding or in this case, I’m just super uncertain what to send for a Fat Quarter swap and so I wind up buying a pile of stuff to potentially give away. My swap partner didn’t give a lot of direction as to what she was hoping to receive and though she commented on several pictures, she didn’t really comment so much on MINE, so I compiled a great big list of stuff she mentioned liking and then thought, ‘oh god, I don’t own any of that!’ Some of it I knew I could get from Mad About Patchwork, so I started loading up a great big cart of potential fabrics.

Starting on the left is Folkloric Blooms in Fuchsia (Robert Kaufman), Architextures Scribble Notes in Navy (Robert Kaufman), Architextures Landscape in Grass (Robert Kaufman), and Architextures Blueprint in Grass (Robert Kaufman). Then from the top right, a Pepper print (don’t know it’s name, by Robert Kaufman), Waterfront Park’s Domino Dot in Clementine by Violet Craft, Just My Type’s Letterpress in Red by Patty Young, Waterfront Park’s Domino Dot in Jewel by Violet Craft, and Just My Type’s Grosgrain in Red by Patty Young.

Interestingly, I didn’t wind up using any of these new fabrics that I’d bought with the swap in mind. Nope, I wound up pulling things that have been in my stash for a little while:

FQ Blender Swap pkg

I don’t really recall the names of the fabrics or the lines they come from and it’s already in the mail, so I can’t even go look it up. The bird print on the bottom is by Aneela Hoey and the red is a Cosmo Cricket print. The other two, I don’t really know. I wound up choosing three fabrics that my partner had specifically mentioned liking in a couple of different posts and the fourth one, the Cosmo Cricket print just felt like a fun choice. Of course, looking at the photo now, I really don’t think that red print is a very good choice because the point of it all was to swap blender fabrics and I think there is too much contrast in that print for it to be strictly a blender print. Anyway, as long as my partner likes it, I guess that’s all that really matters.

As for the rest of it… it’s always my goal to have my stash get smaller (through use) rather than bigger, but maybe I’ll succeed a little better another day… (That won’t be for a few weeks at least, though. I’ve got two packages coming from within Canada and one from without. Ahem. And I may have a cartload of stuff at Super Buzzy that I’m trying to talk myself into hitting the “Remove” button for because I. Do. Not. Need. More. Fabric.)

Anyway, few days ago though I got talking with Paula from The Sassy Quilter about some of Moda’s business practises. I mean, she brought it up in one of her posts, that they only print a fabric line once and then when the fabric is gone, it’s gone. I think it’s a kind of crappy thing to do, a bit of a bully’s move. You have to buy it now, even if you’re not 100% you want it, because if you don’t, it might be gone and you’ll never have a chance at it again. It’s just like Disney and their films in the supposed vault: it’s a way to pressure people into buying Just In Case. I understand the thought behind it, it’s supposed to make the fabric seem more special, more precious, and therefore make it more likely that you’ll buy it early and in greater quantity. Moda seems to be doing well, so I think it’s working for them. On the other hand, it’s really damned annoying.

I didn’t start buying fabric online until a couple years ago – I didn’t have a credit card until about 4-5 years ago (because I had a paranoia that if I had one, I’d just spend a ton of money on dumb crap and then wind up one of those people with $10,000 credit card debt and nothing much to show for it, which I should say hasn’t happened, thank god), so most of my nice fabric was bought within the last couple of years. But there are a lot of really lovely fabric lines that I either didn’t know existed (because I lived a long ways off from good fabric stores, and still do) or that were already hard to find by that point. I think of fabric like Tula Pink’s Neptune line, which I didn’t like very much to begin with and so ignored until it was too late to get the “good” prints. At some point you’re just left hoping you’ll stumble unexpectedly over something amazing in a random store somewhere.

So a few weeks back I was in Lethbridge and went to a couple quilt stores there. I posted photos back then of the stuff that I’d bought, including this bundle, which was labelled as a 12 FQ pack of Amy Butler prints:

FQ Bundle

I had laughed a bit at the time because that lime and white print in the middle is actually a Heather Bailey print, but what I didn’t noticed when I pulled it apart at the time was that that pink and blue print on the bottom row is actually a long out of print Tula Pink fabric from her Hushabye line:

Hushabye Bunny Damask

I was never a really big fan of the Hushabye line, mostly because it was too Children’s Fabric to me, so that’s not one of those Out of Print lines that I pine for (I might still buy the Circus Dot in Sage if I could ever find it, I find that print oddly attractive, but ONLY in that colour-way), but it’s kind of hilarious to me that tucked away with those Amy Butler prints was this one OOP HTF fabric that some people probably do pine after and wouldn’t ever get their hands on because Moda’s got it Locked In The Vault. (If someone has that Circus Dot in Sage and wants to do a trade, this FQ for that one, I could get behind that. Just saying.)

I wonder if some day they’ll make the (probably sound) business decision to Unlock their Vault and reprint either selected lines or select prints from some of their old lines, just to make another stack of money to swim around in like Donald Duck, before locking it all back up again. Anything you wish they’d reprint?

Linking up with Finding Fifth’s Sunday Stash, this week hosted at Blossom Heart Quilts:
Finding Fifth


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Random Thursday

Is this supposed to be a link-up or is it just really… Random Thursday? Well, here’s a few random bits and bobs:

1. Next project

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I spent an embarrassingly long time sitting and staring at that one hexie yesterday trying to decide which way to go with it. The Paper Pieces package recommends sewing through the paper, but I want to use them multiple times and so I can’t help thinking it MUST be better for the paper not to sew through. The package does say you can keep reusing them anyway, but don’t they get all damaged in the corners where the stitches go? I don’t know. I’ve been planning today to watch a few videos on YouTube to see if I can decide which looks a more likely route for me.

2. Birdie Sling

Birdie Sling fabrics

Not sold on the denim yarn-dyed Essex Linen. I like it, a lot, but it feels too pale compared to the darker blue, maybe? (Special thanks to Michelle for her contribution to these fabrics being in my stash! :D) I thought from photos online that maybe it would be a darker blue than it is. I think a bag looks top-heavy if you put the darker fabric on top, and I could switch it so that the print fabric is on the bottom, but honestly I don’t want that much of the print on display. The bag on the pattern cover has a darker top band, but I think that large print on the bottom (with the smaller print up top) counter-acts the top-heaviness. I’ll have to think about it. I might have some Kona Nightfall fabric that would probably work (maybe?) and would definitely be darker. I don’t want to have to buy more fabric, in any case.

3. Leftover bits from something I’ve been working on.

Liberty Scraps

Liberty scraps. I’m not a big fan of Liberty (by and large I find their prints to be overly fussy, but there are a few I do like, even though they are fussy little florals), but wanted to see what the Tana Lawn was like to work with. I’m not 100% on board with the thing I made that generated these scraps (photos later – I want to be more happy with it before I share) and I wound up putting interfacing on the fabric because it was too light-weight (compared to the linen I paired it with). It also smelled a bit of bug spray – I have to assume that’s the fault of the seller, not the fabric maker, but I’ve been airing it out and can’t smell it any longer. (Also, I could smell bugspray at work the other day where no bug spray existed, so maybe I had some crossed wires in my brain…)

4. The solids Churn Dash.

Churn Dash

Just need a few more… Well, I need one more row’s worth, plus I’m waiting for 2 that will be sent to me. Love how this is coming together.

5. Some of my problem spots with the FMQ on the Star Surround project. If you have suggestions or advice for avoiding, please let me know!

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There’s lot of little things to nit pick with this one, which I will nit-pick in other photos instead, what I took this photo for was the kind of jerkiness of it. I didn’t get a smooth loop at all on that top one, which was just me needing to stop and get my hands in a better position (but just pushing through anyway). What really bothers me is the stitches just before it goes from a straight(ish) downward line into the loop – you can see a spot where I went from vertical almost immediately to horizontal, and although I mentioned this was a spot where I’d needed to reposition my hands, I ALSO had that same issue in places (sometimes) where I did come to a complete stop, and then started again. Sometimes I could get a smooth restart and then other times I’d go off in a completely different direction than I really “should” have. I KNOW that it’s not going to show much in the grand scheme of things (which is why I didn’t pick out any of my stitches, except where there were thread breaks and the one time I had a toe catcher), but I’d still rather learn to prevent it.

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Okay. Quarter-inch stitches vs sixteenth of an inch stitches. I know this is about the speed of my hands relative to the speed of the machine, but… how should I sew into a curve to keep my stitches smaller and more uniform? I know, practise. Yay, practise. But should I be giving it a little more gas at the beginning of the curve or easing off…? Move my hands faster as I go into that motion? I don’t know. As with all my other little issues, they seemed to hit intermittently – every time I congratulated myself for a particularly well done bit, I’d wind up doing something dumb 😀 (If I hadn’t used such garish fabrics, I’d show you my practise stitches! My best rows were the first two, before I started paying attention to what I was doing, before I remembered to turn my stitch length to zero even!, then they got progressively worse for a bit while I figured out what to do to improve things, and then they started to get better again. My one practise row of stippling is… appalling. There’s a reason I haven’t done it for realsies yet. Definitely need a whole practise sandwich just for that! But I want to go through Leah Day’s method of practising in stages – u shapes, lobster claw shapes, etc. – before joining it all up in a properly random stipple.)

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Okay, this doesn’t show super clearly because I could not convince my camera to focus on the problem spot rather than a spot an inch above it. But that particularly long looking stitch kind of in the bottom middle of the lower loop… My machine skipped a stitch. It only happened a couple times in the whole quilt, but I seem to remember reading something somewhere about what that means, but I can’t seem to find any information on the topic now! (I tried googling FMQ skipped stitch, but that didn’t help. It’s possible I just got bored of looking for answers, though, so I should probably search it again now that I’m not so focussed on getting that quilt done done done!) A couple of my skipped stitches, I went in with a needle and thread and couched the skipped bit (didn’t want to unpick, also didn’t want to leave a loop big enough for a kid’s finger to go into), but I didn’t do it every time. (It was awkward! And I don’t know how stable that couching will be, it’s not like with embroidery where you can secure it really easily on the back.)

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Okay. You can see a bit of this in most of my photos, but the bobbin thread is even more visible in this photo because the darker part of the variegated thread is on the bobbin thread here, with a very pale part on top. I always thought this was a tension issue, but my machine is set at almost the highest tension available. I didn’t adjust it to the higher setting because it didn’t do this all the time I was FMQing, so I wondered if something else was at work?

I don’t know. If any of you do much FMQing and have thoughts or suggestions, let me know! I know it’s not easy to diagnose when you can’t see what I do when I quilt, but I figured someone might have thoughts.

[Also, I’m linking up to Free Motion Quilting Friday at Leah Day’s The Free Motion Quilting Project. If you want to see the finished quilt which has all these flawed bits of stitching on them, you can find it here.]


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Belated Sunday Stash

So my parents came to town this weekend and decided that we should go take a road trip to southern Alberta – I wanted to see Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump:

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

So we did that, and we went Frank Slide, in the Crowsnest Pass of the Rocky Mountains:

Frank Slide

Frank Slide

Frank Slide

And we went to Lethbridge, to the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden:

Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden

We also, ahem, went to a couple quilting stores in Lethbridge. We had a little time in the evening where the things we wanted to see were closed, but the quilt stores were open, so I got to drop in on The Quilt Addict and Village Quilts. I rather prefered Village Quilts – the woman working there was super friendly and their selection was a little closer to my own tastes. They had a lot of Moda fabrics and precuts of fun lines that I like a lot. But I couldn’t leave either of them without buying a little something.

From The Quilt Addict:

Mini Quilt Kit

A mini-quilt kit.

Birdie Sling Pattern

A pattern for Amy Butler’s Birdie Sling. I’ve wanted to make that one for a long time, but always avoiding it because I’m scared of Amy Butler’s patterns. Still, the package says this one is suitable for beginners, unlike some of her more notorious patterns. I guess we’ll see how it goes…

FQ Bundle

And finally, a fat quarter pack. This was written up as an Amy Butler FQ pack, but there’s at least one Heather Bailey FQ in there. Oh well!

And then, from Village Quilts, I picked up these pre-cuts and some flannel:

Asst New Stash

I can’t recall (and it’s not on the same floor as I currently am…) but think that the flannel is a Riley Blake print. I was a real genius and bought enough for the length of the quilt back, but not for the width. Oops. I’m hoping I’ll have some more flannel at home that’ll cover that bit of extra that I’m going to need. It’s really not a huge amount of fabric, but just enough to be annoying. I didn’t buy the pre-cuts for anything in particular – I just always liked Lucy’s Crab Shack and never bought any. The mini-charm pack was just because those little charm packs are so cute. Who resist?

Other things no one can resist? Waterfalls. So pretty!

Lundbreck Waterfalls

And here’s some mountains off in the distance, with ranch and/or farm land in the foreground:

Random Alberta Mountains/Countryside

And that’s it, for this ridiculously photo-heavy post. I’m linking up with Sunday Stash at Finding Fifth:

<a href=&34;http://findingfifth.blogspot.com.au/&quot; target="_self"gt;&34;Finding


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Pencil Case style Zipper Pouch

Yesterday my sister and I went out to do all the things:
I went book shopping while she got her hair cut, we got manicures, we got our eyebrows threaded (this is like… high-speed plucking, but with a string rather than a pair of tweezers), we went junk food shopping (ahem), and… I forget. All I know is I hadn’t slept, because I worked the night shift again, and then we did all the things ever and then I came home and slept for an hour and a half so that I wouldn’t pass out in my dinner, and then I made my sister a little zipper pouch in the space of time it took me to watch the last 15 minutes of the Shakespeare episode of Doctor Who, plus the episode that came after. (Cats + traffic jams + other weird aliens.) (I’d forgotten how much I loved the season with Martha Jones. She doesn’t get that much respect in a lot of the online forums I read, but I really liked her and there were a lot of fun episodes in her season.)

Anyway, the book store that I went to, like a lot of book stores, has had to put more and more home decor and personal care items into the store alongside the books because book sales are tanking, and so I spent a long, long time looking at all the ridiculously tempting things they had there. (I bought some Polaroid style greeting cards and a Chuck Klosterman book, but otherwise avoiding spending money on anything.) When my sister came in, she found a zipper pouch, which was this great purple colour, but had ugly gold lettering on it, which she was tempted to buy to use as a passport/receipts carrying pouch while in the US next week – she and her husband are taking a road trip to California, leaving tomorrow and returning in September – and she’ll need to collect all her receipts for purchases that she might have to declare when coming back into Canada.

Honey. You live with someone who has a sewing machine and too much time on her hands. (I’m on vacation this week too! But I’m not taking a road trip to California 😦 )

Pencil Case-Style Zipper Pouch

So I made her a super simple lined and divided zipper pouch. I didn’t follow a pattern – it’s really basic! I just figured out the size she wanted (large enough to hold two passports, plus some room for receipts) and found some fabrics in colours I knew she’d like. I didn’t decorate the outside in any way – it’s just Essex Yarn-Dyed Linen in Black – because my sister is not into anything very fancy or cute or whatever. Even simple patchwork would have been more than she’d have wanted. She pretty much likes red and black and white, so there’s the black (and kind of white…) with a red zipper from Zipit. (The zipper pull is also from Zipit. I have a pile of Octopus ones, but this one with the robots in love was attached to my last order of zippers from Zipit. It seemed to fit the black white red theme a little better than any of my octopuses.)

Zipper Pouch

The interior is lined with a red MoMo print and then I put in a divider in a red Kona Cotton. It’s not perfect – somehow the divider feels loose, but I don’t know how to make it more taut? I did it the same size as the lining pieces, but should I have made it a touch smaller and then stretched the bejeezus out of it to make it fit but stay taut? I also messed up the zipper/seam somehow at either end – I’ve done it with my last two pouches and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but the zippers are winding up all lumpy on the ends and I couldn’t even top stitch this pouch because I didn’t think I’d be able to get the sewing machine to stitch over the lumps at the end where the zipper opens. (The end of the zipper isn’t quite so bad.)

Anyway, this pattern free sewing didn’t go so bad despite the few little issues and my sister is happy – it saved her $25 or whatever that one from the store cost and it’ll get the job done. (The photos are pretty awful though. I should go steal it back and take some better pictures now that I could use natural light instead of the garbagey yellow overhead light in my sewing room.)


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Stress Shopping

A couple of weeks ago I said this: “I can tell I’m stressy because after ages of not spending money on anything unnecessary and especially not on fabric for my stash… I spent like $150 on fabric/notions today without really noticing it. I hope I don’t have buyer’s remorse when it all shows up.”

It’s all showed up now (well, it had earlier this week/last week, but I chose to spend my time stitching, rather than talking about it), so I thought I’d do a picture post and kind of hash out some of my thoughts. (Buyer’s remorse? Not exactly, just not quite Buyer’s Super Excited Awesome either.)

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My first purchase was 4.5 yards of fabric from a Canadian shop on Etsy, Kloth Shoppe. The text print up top is Merci Beaucoup from Stof and the one on the bottom is from the Bon Appetit collection for Michael Miller. The green and blue is from Amy Butler’s Lark line. I wish I’d bought more of that one because I really like it, it’s a lot less busy than a lot of Amy Butler’s prints these days.

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What I was really needing was fabric for a baby quilt for an old friend of mine; she’s having her first baby in fall/winter and I wanted to make something for her even though we haven’t been in contact in years. (Her mom and my mom are friends, and occasionally my mom sees this old friend of mine, so I still hear bits of news. When I was living in Saskatoon, the friend was in Regina, and then I moved out to Calgary, and now she’s living in Saskatoon. We haven’t been in contact since we lived in the same city, though, so it’s been probably 6 or 8 years since we’ve really spoken.) Anyway, back in the day she wasn’t really into anything very cutesy, especially for boys, so I wanted to make something that has a slightly masculine colour-scheme, but wouldn’t be particularly cute about it. No animal prints, no little boy robots or animal prints or whatever. So the thought was to make something using only striped fabrics, using a red, navy, light blue, and green colour scheme. (Yes, please do scroll back up and see how well I stuck to that thought.) I figured I’d make a double hourglass block with either white or a light grey as the solid.

Since I didn’t find anything on Etsy (from Canadian shops) and since I didn’t find anything from any of the non-Etsy Canadian shops either, I went to Hawthorne Threads. I love Hawthorne Threads, their shipping rates are relatively reasonable even to Canada (they undercut themselves on large shipping amounts because it’s gotten HELLA expensive to ship to Canada), they have a TON of options, and their colour matching tool lets you have a reasonable idea about how things will work together. I figured with them I’d be able to find a dozen prints for the top, plus a backing fabric. And that is what I bought, but…

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Two of my fabrics are flannel and the rest aren’t. It’s not that HT doesn’t say what type of fabric it is, I just wasn’t paying attention. (Did I say I was stress shopping? I was. I wasn’t paying attention to ANYTHING as closely as I should have been.) Fortunately the chevron print was meant for the backing material, and I’m definitely okay with flannel as a quilt back. It can shrink A LOT though, so I usually buy extra just in case, but I didn’t. Which I guess means it’s okay that the dot fabric is flannel too because if it does shrink too much, I can still piece the back a bit and keep it up to size. Still, that’s one fewer fabric for the front of the quilt (because I’m not going to mix flannel and cotton on the top.) The Chevron fabric is Medium Chevron in Boy for Riley Blake, and I think the dot is Circle Dot in Medium Blue by Alpine Fabrics.

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Anyway, I got distracted from my plans pretty quickly because one of the stripes I found was in a kind of aqua, red, orange, yellow and grey, and it matched to a bunch of other fabrics that also had blue and green. And then I expanded my definition of stripe to allow rows of cars and then I found a grey star print and and and…

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And hey, if I’m letting cars through, why not ships. And ships lead to a text-in-rope print and then dots. And if I was breaking all my rules, why not a cute squirrel print anyway? It fit the colour scheme, right? And that tree fabric is kind of stripey and it’s just awesome, so why not? Well, throw away the ships because they’re too tall for the hourglass pattern! And once all this fabric arrived… I don’t really want to use the ones with the orange in them or the grey star because they’ve got that sort of dingy colour scheme that I often find (and don’t really love) in Japanese fabrics and the squirrel and tree are too far off message.

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Which all means that of the batch, the only ones I really want to use are the four in the middle row. Maybe I should just try shopping my stash to see if I can scrounge up enough fabrics in that red, blue, grey and orange scheme to make a quilt top. I’d still like a good variety of prints, twelve if possible, and I’d still like to keep it fairly simple (meaning no floral, no animal, no modes of transportation, but yes to stripes, dots, and other geometrics), but I don’t want to have to buy another 4-6 yards of fabric (HT only sells in half yards and larger) in hopes that this time I’ll be happier with the outcome. (And maybe I’ll be able to slip in a little bit of those striped ones, but not the car ones, in the dingy looking fabric, if they’re present in smaller amounts rather than making up 4 of 8 fabrics.)

Anyway, the fabrics are:
Top Row: My Favourite Ship in Sky from Out to Sea by Sarah Jane; Crazy Stripe in Multi from Boy Crazy by My Mind’s Eye; Crazy Cars in White from Boy Crazy by My Mind’s Eye; Stars in Grey from One for the Boys by Zoe Pearn; Stripe in Cream from One for the Boys by Zoe Pearn
Second Row: Sailors ABC in Flame from Out to Sea by Sarah Jane; Pirate Stripe in Flame from Out to Sea by Sarah Jane; Small Dots in Navy from Riley Blake; Small Chevron in Boy from Riley Blake
Bottom Row: Squirrels and Nuts in Navy from Get Together by David Walker; Birch Forest in Aqua from Backyard Baby by Patti Sloniger

While all this shopping was going on and I was still looking around on Etsy, I found a shop that sells Sewline Supplies. I’ve previously bought all my Sewline stuff from a Canadian Shop Which Shall Not Be Named (because of a bad experience earlier this year while trying to buy some refills for my glue pen, I don’t think anything malicious was going on, but certainly a big bout of laziness/not having enough staff maybe and some misfortune getting their products across the border, but it was still a piss-off for me) but haven’t found a lot of shops that sell it, and so when I did find Our Epoch, I thought I’d better buy enough to make the shipping worth the while.

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So the necessary stuff was the Sewline Glue Pen refills (I only bought one package, but they accidentally sent me two, which they’ve told me just to keep – I was willing to mail it back because I don’t use SO much glue that I need four refills right now) and the Ceramic pencil leads, in white and pink. (I’ve been using white and green, but I don’t think they had green, so I figured I’d try out the pink for a while.) The Magic Bobbin Washers are always recommended by Leah Day of The Free Motion Quilting Project, so I’ll try them out. The lime green ric-rack is just because I liked the colour, and then two honeycombs of Happy Go Lucky by Bonnie & Camille, who somehow manage to break past my general dislike of florals. I always love how their collections look when they’re all together, they’ve got a great colour sensibility.

I bought all of that in the space of maybe 45 minutes online, but I wasn’t done. Nope! The next day I went stress shopping to Fabricland. I don’t know if Fabricland exists outside of Canada, but it’s a chain that sells all sort of fabrics (quilting cotton and a lot of clothing fabrics, home decor, etc.). I find most of the quilting fabrics to be somewhere in the poor-to-middling quality, but they occasionally get in big name fabrics. And if you’re a member, they’re the cheapest place to get batting, locally, because it’s really expensive to ship something as bulky as quilt batting. They’re good for notions too, though only if they’re on sale. (If you’re a member you get an automatic 20% off notions, which tells me that their mark-up is 20% higher than it needs to be. Subtract 20% and you’re probably at the price that it SHOULD be set at.) They fairly frequently have 30-50% off notions, so I tend to buy all my rulers from them and cutting mats and that sort of thing. Anyway, they didn’t have any big sales at the time, so I didn’t get the ruler I wanted (a while ago I mentioned losing my good 12.5″ square ruler – I still haven’t found it!), but I did pick up some more thread and some other interesting looking things:

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Okay, looking at that photo… Fabricland doesn’t sell Fiskars, so I’m not sure where I bought the blades (probably Michaels, for 40% off), but I’m glad I did because I accidentally ran my most recent blade (and it was REALLY new!) over a pin yesterday and now it’s skipping a thread every turn around when I cut. The thread is just basic Gutermann thread, which I use for piecing. I know everyone online has drunk the Aurafil koolaid, but I haven’t tried it yet and my sewing machine likes Gutermann, so I’ll go on using it. (I do have one spool of Aurafil thread that I bought a while ago to try. I haven’t got around to it yet, and I’m a little scared to try because maybe my machine will purr like a kitten and produce the World’s Most Amazing Stitching Ever if I do and then I’ll have to start buying more expensive thread that has to be shipped to me because nobody nearby sells it.)

The Grip Disks are just for a couple of my cutting rulers that don’t have very good grip and slid all over the place. (The absolute worst is a Dresden plate ruler I’ve got. I’ve had it for years and it’s so slippery it’s a wonder I’ve never chopped off a finger tip while trying to cut with it. Then again, I’ve never made a Dresden plate because every time I’ve tried cutting the fabric, it’s slipped all over the place and I’ve not gotten appropriately sized units.) And last up are the oval quilt clips, which just seemed like a neat idea: when you’re quilting a large quilt in a home machine, you can roll up the excess quilt and hold it together in a roll with those clamps. Seemed like it might be worth a try.

Anyway, that’s it for my ridiculous shopping extravaganza. Now I just need to reevaluate all the fabric choices for that baby quilt in the making. (And why couldn’t she have a girl? I’ve got a spare girly quilt top that just needs to be quilted!) And then get to work.


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Vintage Modern Wonky Star Quilt

I suppose I should come up with more creative names for the things I make, but it’s always just the most basic information with me: a wonky star quilt, made with Modern Vintage fabric. Anyway, it’s my first finish for 2013! The first of several, I hope… (But I shouldn’t jinx myself by saying that.)

Vintage Modern Wonky Star quilt

I’ve been working on this one since November 2012, I think, which for me isn’t a very long time. It’s rare I finish things within months, rather than within years! It does help to have a deadline, though. I didn’t meet my original one – to have it done by Christmas – but I did get it done before my family comes to visit again (that’ll be end of February, most likely). My parents will be tasked with taking this quilt to give to my Grandma, who I made it for.

A very long time ago I started a different quilt for my grandma. It was an origami quilt, where all the nine-patch blocks had origami flowers made using all the ugly floral prints my mom had bought me. (She used to buy me fabric periodically and half the time it was weird floral prints that wouldn’t appeal to much of anyone, I don’t think!) It was the first big project I ever really worked on, and it had A LOT of construction issues. I mean, I didn’t really KNOW it, but I sure figured it out when I started quilting it.

Origami quilt, unquilted

This photo is from before I quilted it, but once I started… well, the borders were all out of whack, so much so that I actually had to fold-over and quilt down about an inch of fabric on one side. (It hides remarkably well – it happened to be right where there was a seam anyway, and it just sort of blends in.) I had a hell of a time figuring out how to quilt it, and I screwed things up a lot and tried mostly unsuccessfully to hide it. The more I tried to make things work, the more frustrated I got with it, and so it’s spent several years languishing in a closet while I mulled over what to do with it… at least, I mulled it over in between year long bouts of pretending it didn’t exist.

Fabric Origami Quilt, 2x2

During one of my annual bouts of mulling things over a while back, I realized the single biggest problem with the quilt: it’s full of raw edges. Every single flower has a raw edge on the underside of each petal, which you can see opened up in the photo above. I’ve made a lot (A LOT) of mini-pillows using these, and it’s not such a big deal that they’ve got raw edges, because you’re not using it, you’re not likely going to have to wash it. But how can you wash a quilt with 65 flowers, each with raw edges on all four petals? So needless, I think, to say… I’ve given up on that quilt. I don’t know what to do with it – it seems ridiculous to bag it up and throw it in the garbage, but I just don’t know how to salvage it.

Anyway, I had to make a new quilt. My Grandma has made me a number of quilts – I think I’ve got four from her, which really I should take proper pictures one day and make a post about them. But I’ve never made her something big before, and I thought she’d probably like to have something I quilted, since I know she’s pretty tickled by the thought that I’ve picked up quilting. The few times she’s seen things I’ve made, she’s had a kind of funny reaction. She finds the colours and prints I use kind of bewildering, I think. I mean, why would I want a quilt with black sashing and bright colours when there are so many pretty pink fabrics out there?

Anyway, Bonnie & Camille’s Vintage Modern is a very pretty fabric line, and although it’s not quite my thing, it’s still something that hits points that appeal to me (the interesting prints, like the houndstooth and those sort of circular ones, the colours – red and aqua and grey), but is traditional and pretty enough to appeal to my Grandma.

Vintage Modern Wonky Star Quilt

I made this using a layer cake – a Moda layer cake will give you 21 blocks, I used 20 and the extra may, if I get around to it, get turned into a cushion – and then red and white yardage, plus a little yardage for the border and binding. Using a layer cake (the equivalent of 4 charm packs) means the blocks are a little larger than standard, about 13.5 inches finished rather than 12 inches. Which is nice, because this makes a decent sized lap quilt for an adult, about 63 x 77 inches.

When I started making the blocks, I was a little concerned that the white stars wouldn’t stand out against the grey prints, so I separated out all of the grey prints (there were 8) and made four blocks in all grey, with the red stars to contrast. The red fabric is cherry Cotton Couture from Michael Miller, and is really beautiful feeling stuff. (I mean, I like my Kona Cotton, I’ve got yards and yards of the stuff, but Cotton Couture is just GORGEOUS stuff to work with.)

Vintage Modern star blocks

I like those contrasting stars in the quilt and I’m glad I did it. (Although I think that’s one of those things that will bewilder my Grandma!) I think those four red stars are probably the wonkiest of all my wonky stars, so that appeals to me too. I was really worried that I’d run out of the white tone-on-tone I used with the multi-coloured prints, so I was being very cautious about how I cut them and how much fabric I used. I did manage to stretch the tone-on-tone over the whole quilt, but I think I was only left with maybe 2 or 3 squares or triangles that would still have been usable. (I don’t know how much I started with – it was probably about a metre, but I’m really not certain.)

Vintage Modern quilt top

I don’t have any really good shots of the quilting in this one, but that’s okay because I kind of did it all ass-backwards and would have done things a fair bit differently if I’d really thought it through before I started, rather than doing the first thing I thought of and then having to slot in everything else around it. In any case, I quilted it in a pale grey that pretty much blends right into the quilt. Before quilting, I tried something new to me with the basting, which was to baste on a table rather than the floor! I found this tutorial from My Fabric Obsession and decided that even if it didn’t work out that well, it HAD to be better than crawling around on the floor to pin baste. It was! I had no problems with wrinkles on the quilt back, and it was so so so so so easy compared to doing it on the floor. No aching back! No worries about leaving pin gouges in the kitchen floor! (I probably left some pin-scratches in my sewing table, but I’m really not worried about that.) I’m definitely going to do that again the future, although maybe I’ll finally suck it up and try thread basting.

Vintage Modern Wonky Star Quilt

I decided when I was working on the top, that I really wanted to have a flannel backing, so that it would be nice and cosy to wrap up in. As a lap quilt, I figure it’s more likely to be used off a bad, and thus without a sheet, so who wouldn’t want an extra fuzzy and soft feeling fabric up against them? I thought I’d probably have to use a solid grey flannel, but Vintage Modern came with several flannel prints as well, and I found someone on Etsy who was selling yardage. I really wanted a grey print (I don’t know why, it just felt right) and was very happy to find that floral that you see up above. This Moda flannel seemed to be a nicer quality flannel than a lot of the solids I’ve worked with before. I didn’t pre-wash the other fabrics, but obviously I did pre-wash the flannel because that stuff can shrink A LOT, but it shrunk much less than any other flannel I’ve worked with in the past. It also didn’t seem quite as shred-happy as a lot of flannels I’ve used.

For the binding, I used a striped print from another line of fabric by Bonnie & Camille, Marmalade, which is another line of pretty vintage-looking florals. I had planned to use the red print with white dots that you can see in the quilt, but went with the striped binding instead because who doesn’t love a striped binding? There’s a part of me that thinks my Grandma would probably have liked the dots better, so that part of me kind of wishes I hadn’t switched to the stripe, but I love the stripe too much to seriously contemplate changing anyway.

So now I need to chuck this puppy in the wash. I’m always scared of washing things – what if it completely falls apart? what if the whole thing comes out in a big ball of shredded fabric and strings? – even though I’ve never had any problems. Irrational fears, eh?


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Vintage Modern Wonky Star quilt, finished (yay!)

Vintage Modern Wonky Star quilt

Oh, look. A finished project!

(More later. It was bed time almost two hours ago. Someone is shovelling their sidewalk right now, though, and I can’t fall asleep. SO LOUD! I work nights all weekend, so it might be Sunday before I have a chance to write a proper entry. And hopefully take a proper picture.)


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WIP Wednesday: More Vintage Modern

Does this chucked on a chair shot look the same as the one I’ve been flashing the last few weeks worth of work-in-progress Wednesday posts?

Vintage Modern Wonky Star quilt

If it does, you should look a little closer!

Roll of Striped Binding

Now with 100% more binding!

I haven’t really shown too many full-on shots of this quilt, though I guess there was the one with it draped down the stairs in my kitchen, but if you know very much about this line of fabric – Bonnie & Camille’s Vintage Modern – you may know there isn’t a stripe. (Well, there is, but it’s a very wide stripe with dots in both colours of the stripe.) (In fact, here’s a link to the Moda info sheet on Vintage Modern.) This stripe that I’ve used actually comes from Bonnie & Camille’s newer line of fabric, Marmalade, which is in a very similar colour palette, but also adds orange and yellow to the mix. The reds are the same in both lines, so it worked perfectly!

I think everyone loves a good striped binding, I certainly do, but I do have some slight reservations about this one. I think I maybe should have gone with my original plan and used a red with white dot. Oh well, too late, not changing it now!

Binding the Vintage Modern quilt

I’ve stitched down one short side plus a couple more feet, and am crossing fingers and toes that I’ll manage to get the rest done tonight and tomorrow. I REALLY want this to be a January finish! But January is so very nearly over! I guess I should get back to it – there are certainly worse things I could do with my time on a cold, cold, cold winter’s day than to cuddle up under a flannel-backed quilt while watching tv and stitching.

Linking up to:

The Needle and Thread Network

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
WIP Wednesday at Freshley Pieced